A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 10 am today for the Grotto Rain Garden, located on the River Bike Path behind the Westar Energy Building, 777 W. Central. The Wichita Park & Recreation Department designed and installed the rain garden which will naturally filter storm water runoff before it reaches the Arkansas River. The Department will also help maintain the Grotto Rain Garden as part of ongoing work to improve the overall health of the Arkansas River and the runoff that pollutes it.
The EPA Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Level II grant of 300,000 was awarded to the Wichita Initiative to Renew the Environment (WIRE) to work with Wichita residents on addressing their top environmental concerns. Twenty thousand dollars of this grant funded the Grotto Rain Garden. The rest of the grant will be used to help establish future rain garden locations throughout the city of Wichita. The creation of these additional rain gardens will be led through the efforts of WIRE, managed by Elizabeth Ablah, PhD, MPH, Assistant professor at the KU School of Medicine–Wichita.
Rain gardens can serve as attractive and effective natural filters to reduce runoff and minimize surface water pollution.